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Teen volunteers sought

April 20, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

DOWNSVILLE - Area teenagers looking for a way to earn community service hours may show up Saturday on Dam No. 4 Road for a "rock" festival.

Community volunteers are welcoming anyone willing to come out and help clear brush and restack rocks on a pre-Civil War fence lining the road.

Pastor Jan Dorsey of the Downsville Church of the Brethren figured why not help area teenagers earn the community service credits necessary for high school graduation.

Forms will be available at the site Saturday when work begins at 8 a.m., Dorsey said.

The origin of the fence is subject of debate.

Some believe it was built by slaves and farmhands laboring to clear antebellum fields of the seemingly inexhaustible supply of limestone, the bane of every Washington County farmer trying to plant a crop.


The crumbling pre-Civil War fence stretches for several miles on both sides of the road.

"The fences were dry stacked when they were built. In other words, no mortar was used and over the years some stones have come loose and tumbled down," Dorsey said.

Weeds and debris are choking out whole sections of the fence, hampering visibility for drivers using the narrow but heavily traveled road that leads to the Potomac River.

The project began last fall with the 250-foot section of fence across from the church.

Volunteers are asked to bring their own tools, gloves, work shoes and safety glasses.

The Washington County Roads Department sprayed the fence walls last September to kill weeds, Dorsey said.

They also will put up road safety signs and provide safety vests on the days of the spring cleanups which include May 8 and 22, and June 5 and 19.

Dorsey asks that drivers using the road during the cleanup drive slowly and carefully, and watch out for workers.

"For safety reasons, we can't use workers younger than high school age," Dorsey said.

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